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The Gadget That Peels Garlic Faster Than My Kids Go Through Goldfish Crackers + 10 Recipes for Garlic Lovers

2015 August 28
by Emily Hill

This is a sponsored post for Garlic Shaker. All thoughts, opinions and excitement over this Kickstarter campaign are mine.

I love a good Kickstarter campaign. No lie. I’ve contributed to at least a half dozen campaigns, from The Maze of Games (we’re still working our way through this one) to Exploding Kittens (the 10YO’s favorite card game). I used to be a small business owner, so I’m all about supporting fellow entrepreneurs…especially it’s a super cool product.

Or a super useful and possibly life-changing one. The new Garlic Shaker might be just that.

I love fresh garlic but I don’t love the prep work when it comes to peeling it. I can totally handle the mincing (similar to dicing an onion), but getting it ready to mince is another story. That’s why my fridge currently contains a ginormous container of pre-minced garlic.

It also contains a ginormous container of fry sauce. Don’t judge.

The Garlic Shaker seems to have magically figured out a quick and easy way to peel garlic while avoiding the normal mess and permanent garlic smell left on the fingers. It works something like this:

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Garlic Shaker - peel garlic quickly and easily.
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And no, it’s not as awkward a motion as the now-infamous Shake Weight.

If you’re as intrigued as I am, head over to the Garlic Shaker on Kickstarter and select your pledge. If you go with the $25 level, you’ll get your choice of Garlic Shaker (love the silver!) plus free shipping and a digital cookbook full of garlic-infused recipes from five-star chef Chef Joran “Dutch” Bouwman.

If you can’t wait for that digital cookbook and need to get your garlic on right away, try one of these 10 recipes for garlic lovers. Personally, I’d attempt the cheese and garlic crack bread because I love anything with “crack” in the name…kind of like my sweet onion crack dip.

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10 Recipes for Garlic Lovers
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Baked honey garlic chicken
Baked honey garlic chicken from Damn Delicious

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Slow cooker garlic herbed mashed potatoes
Slow cooker buttery garlic herbed mashed potatoes from Creme de la Crumb

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Creamy four cheese garlic spaghetti sauce
Creamy four cheese garlic spaghetti sauce from Julia’s Album

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Chicken bacon garlic alfredo rollups
Chicken bacon garlic Alfredo roll-ups from The Recipe Critic

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Cheese and garlic crack bread
Cheese and garlic crack bread from Recipe Tin Eats

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Zesty hummus
Zesty hummus from The Cozy Apron

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French Dip Sliders - so easy to make using a slow cooker and Hawaiian rolls. So fun to eat thanks to the smaller size!
Slow cooker French dip sliders from Is This Really My Life

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Naked pizza with basil and garlic
Naked pizza with basil and garlic from Baking Steel

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Cilantro garlic chicken quesadillas
Cilantro garlic chicken quesadillas from Is This Really My Life

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Tequila lime chopped chicken salad
Tequila lime chopped chicken salad from Is This Really My Life (to-die-for dressing!)

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ps post script

Feel free to “like” is this REALLY my life? on Facebook. It won’t always earn you an extra entry in a giveaway but it will give you warm fuzzies.

Don’t forget to sign up for free is this REALLY my life? updates via RSS or email so you don’t miss a single awesome post.
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Customizable Chore Charts Perfect for Magnetic Boards

2015 August 27
by Emily Hill

Before you get to thinking I’m super organized, these customizable chore charts were for the summer…and I didn’t put them up until mid July. School has been in session over a week now and I have yet to update them. It will probably be Halloween before I get around to it. Just sayin’.

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Customizable Chore Charts Perfect for Magnetic Boards

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I got the idea for these magnet chore charts from Crafting Chicks but tweaked them to work better for our family. Weekends always vary from weekdays, and I found the individual IKEA magnet boards to be larger and heavier than I wanted. The single oversized IKEA Spontan magnetic board fit all four chore charts once I resized them, and the dimensions were a perfect fit for the wall next to the kitchen area. Plus the extra space beneath the charts leaves room for notes and reminders from Mom.

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Free printable magnet chore chart
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While my oldest two aren’t fans of the chore charts—or that they’re visible to friends—they do use them. The possibility of losing their cell phone privileges keeps ’em on task.

I changed the colors to yellow and gray so the charts were gender neutral, and then I scoured Etsy for super cute magnets because we all know I’d be hard pressed to craft my own. I found the most adorable button magnets from Cutebutton and ordered a set for each child. I think they’re my most favorite part of the chore charts. I mean, just look at those hedgehogs!

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FREE printable magnet chore chart
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Here’s a closeup of each one so you can see just how cute those magnets are (and the kinds of jobs my kids were supposed to do this summer). You’ll notice the 1″ magnets are a bit large. I don’t mind them staggered when vertical, but if it bothers you, make sure you choose magnets smaller than 1″.

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Free printable magnet chore chart

Free printable magnet chore chart

Free printable magnet chore chart

Free printable magnet chore chart
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You can see exactly what Lauren thinks about the new customizable chore charts…

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Free printable magnet chore chart
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Here’s to hoping they’ll get into the habit of using the updated ones because contrary to popular (i.e., my kids’) belief, I don’t enjoy nagging.

If you want to use these printable chore charts, I have a couple options. And of course you don’t have to use them with magnetic boards; you could laminate them and use dry erase markers instead!

The first download is the chore chart in its original 8 1/2 x 11-inch size. It doesn’t have room for a name, but you could easily design a cute name tag to place at the top. And this larger size is great for individual magnetic boards.

If you’d like to place multiple charts on a magnetic board like the one I picked up from IKEA, you’ll want to download the 7 x 9-inch size. It will print on an 8 1/2 x 11-inch paper but I’ve added trim lines so you can cut it to size. You can hand write a name at the top or use a free tool like PicMonkey (my favorite) to add it. If you use PicMonkey, here’s the easiest way to add a name after downloading the file:

  1. Visit PicMonkey.com and click on Edit.
  2. Open the file.
  3. Click on the text tool (Tt) and select the font Francois One.
  4. Type the name in the text box and then change the font size (I used 250) and position until it floats your boat.
  5. Save the chore chart as a new file.

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You can easily create multiple charts by editing the text box and saving each chart as a new file. You can even use the font tool to write specific jobs on the chart if you’d rather not write them by hand. I seem to always change what my kids need to do, so I went the easier route.

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Customizable Chore Charts Perfect for Magnetic Boards
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I’m all easy button like that.

To download the customizable chore charts, click on the image(s) and save the file(s) to your desktop. But before you do, please read the following:

  • ITRML printables are for personal use only.
  • If you decide to re-post or use the image on your blog or website, you MUST cite the source and include a link to this post.
  • Personalization and other customizations are not available; printables are offered “as-is.”

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Job Chart Template 8.5 x 11
8 1/2 x 11-inch printable

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Job Chart Template 7 x 9
7 x 9-inch printable (with trim marks)

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ps post script

Feel free to “like” is this REALLY my life? on Facebook. It won’t always earn you an extra entry in a giveaway but it will give you warm fuzzies.

Don’t forget to sign up for free is this REALLY my life? updates via RSS or email so you don’t miss a single awesome post.
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Ice-Creamified Banana “Pudding”

2015 August 25
by Emily Hill

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Breyers. All opinions are 100% mine.

I can’t say I’m a fan of banana pudding but when you take Breyers Natural Vanilla ice cream and use it to create what I call an ice-creamified banana pudding, I’ll lick the bowl—and the spoon—clean.

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Ice-Creamified Banana Pudding -- the only way I will eat it!

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I created this banana (insert air quotes) pudding recipe thanks to Chef Antonia Lofaso’s banana pudding recipe found on the Breyers website.

Bet you didn’t know they have a yummy collection of recipes over there.

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Ice-Creamified Banana Pudding -- the only way I will eat it!

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I’m going to be completely honest with you. Our family loves Breyers ice cream. We’ve been huge fans since we first discovered their mint chocolate chip ice cream, and then became lifelong fans when we tasted their chocolate fudge brownie (now discontinued). We’ve always found Breyers to be smooth and creamy with the perfect flavor combinations and no funky aftertaste.

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Breyers Natural Vanilla Ice Cream
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Breyers Natural Vanilla, America’s No. 1 vanilla ice cream, is made with fresh cream, sugar and milk. The vanilla in this ice cream is real vanilla from sustainably farmed, Rainforest Alliance Certified™ vanilla beans. You get all that goodness for around $4 a carton—not a bad deal.

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Breyers Natural Vanilla Ice Cream
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And you can’t top Breyers Natural Vanilla ice cream’s versatility. It’s great on its own or as a solid foundation for all those favorite sundae toppings. Of course my favorite way to eat it is atop Dutch apple pie or freshly baked German chocolate caramel brownies.

You can feel even better about indulging in Breyers because now sources milk and cream from cows not treated with artificial growth hormones*.

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Breyers Natural Vanilla Ice Cream
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It’s no wonder I like this ice-creamified banana pudding so much!

It could also be the addition of four vanilla wafer cookies…

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Ice-Creamified Banana Pudding -- the only way I will eat it!

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Printable recipe for Chef Antonia Lofa’s banana pudding (aka ice-creamified banana “pudding”) below. Enjoy!
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Ice-Creamified Banana "Pudding"
Author: 
Recipe type: Dessert
Prep time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 1
 
I don't know if you'd call this deconstructed banana pudding or just a much tastier variation. Either way, this is how I prefer to eat it.
Ingredients
  • ½ large ripe banana, cut into 4 equal pieces
  • 1 T turbinado sugar
  • 1 tsp spreadable butter
  • 1 cup Breyers® Natural Vanilla Ice Cream
  • 4 vanilla wafer cookies
Instructions
  1. Put banana pieces on a baking sheet and sprinkle flat sides with turbinado sugar.
  2. Melt butter in a small nonstick skillet and sauté bananas.
  3. Scoop Breyers® Natural Vanilla Ice Cream into a small wide rimmed glass. Wedge 2 cookies on either side and top with sautéed bananas.

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Breyers products are available in grocery stores nationwide for a suggested retail price of $3.99 – $5.99. To learn more about Breyers, visit Breyers.com or you can connect with Breyers on the social media:

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* Suppliers of other ingredients such as cookies, candies & sauces may not be able to make this pledge. The FDA states that no significant difference has been shown between dairy derived from rBST-treated and non-rBST-treated cows.

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If you’re looking for more yummy frozen desserts, you should browse my desserts {frozen treats} Pinterest board.

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Follow Emily Hill’s board desserts {frozen treats} on Pinterest.

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>Visit Sponsors Site

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ps post script

Feel free to “like” is this REALLY my life? on Facebook. It won’t always earn you an extra entry in a giveaway but it will give you warm fuzzies.

Don’t forget to sign up for free is this REALLY my life? updates via RSS or email so you don’t miss a single awesome post.
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Maddie’s New Music Mondays: Two Door Cinema Club

2015 August 24
by Emily Hill

This post is part of a new series written by my daughter Madison. She has the absolute coolest taste in music. Post may include affiliate links to support my Diet Coke habit.

Hello, everyone!

This week’s music post is one of my all time favorite bands. They were one of the bands I first fell in love with when I was trying to transition into indie music. Two Door Cinema Club. The Northern Irish group consisting of Alex Trimble, Sam Halliday, and Kevin Baird (thanks, Wikipedia) formed in 2007.

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Maddies New Music Mondays - Two Door Cinema Club
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The songs I chose for today are “What You Know” and “Sun.” The first one was the first song I remember liking from them, and the second one I discovered while doing an English project on the Great Gatsby. We had to create a playlist of songs to describe characters or event in the book.

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Two Door Cinema Club: What You Know

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Two Door Cinema Club: Sun

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Thanks, everyone!

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Past New Music Mondays:

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ps post script

Feel free to “like” is this REALLY my life? on Facebook. It won’t always earn you an extra entry in a giveaway but it will give you warm fuzzies.

Don’t forget to sign up for free is this REALLY my life? updates via RSS or email so you don’t miss a single awesome post.
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Butterfly Cupcakes with Sugary, Glittery Wings

2015 August 22
by Emily Hill

This post may include affiliate links to help support my Diet Coke habit.

I may have made the most adorable butterfly cupcakes for Livi’s 8th birthday and then shared them as part of the Crafting Chicks Mother Hen’s Summer Survival Guide.

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Butterfly Cupcakes - unbelievably easy to make and so much fun to eat!

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Are you dying over the cuteness? I’ll admit, some of the cuteness is due to those polka-dot baking cups.

What I love most about these butterfly cupcakes is how easy they are, especially if you cheat and use a boxed cake mix. Just don’t cheat and use canned frosting because the vanilla frosting in this recipe is the best you’ll ever make. And lick clean from the spatula.

My favorite pretzels to use for those beautiful DIY wings are Flipz, but you can use any whote chocolate-covered pretzels. I’ve seen them in bulk at the local grocery store.

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Butterfly Cupcakes - unbelievably easy to make and so much fun to eat!

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To get the recipe—and learn how to make those glittery pretzel wings—visit my post on The Crafting Chicks. You still have time to make them before the warm weather runs out!

Here are a few more cupcakes you might enjoy baking (and eating):

Nerds cupcakes
Nerds cupcakes

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Panda cupcakes
Cream-filled panda cupcakes

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Peach cobbler cupcakes - a hint of peach flavor in the cupcakes and peach preserves in the center.
Peach cobbler cupcakes

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Funfetti cupcakes with vanilla bean frosting
Funfetti cupcakes with vanilla bean frosting

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Black and white cupcakes with vanilla bean frosting
Black & white cupcakes

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Pumpkin cupcakes with salted caramel cream cheese frosting
Pumpkin cupcakes with salted caramel cream cheese frosting

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Vanilla bean cupcake with vanilla bean frosting
Vanilla bean cupcakes with vanilla bean frosting

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If you’re looking for more yummy cupcake recipes, you should browse my desserts {cakes & cupcakes} Pinterest board.

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Follow Emily Hill’s board desserts {cakes & cupcakes} on Pinterest.

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ps post script

Feel free to “like” is this REALLY my life? on Facebook. It won’t always earn you an extra entry in a giveaway but it will give you warm fuzzies.

Don’t forget to sign up for free is this REALLY my life? updates via RSS or email so you don’t miss a single awesome post.
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The Best Oatmeal Raisin Cookies EVER

2015 August 20
by Emily Hill

This post may include affiliate links to help support my Diet Coke habit.

I’m not kidding. These truly are the best oatmeal raisin cookies ever. If you don’t believe me, you can ask anyone who’s been lucky enough to try one.

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Amazing Oatmeal Raisin Cookies - the best oatmeal raisin cookies you will ever bake!

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I don’t know how I managed to bake such amazing oatmeal raisin cookies but I’m oh-so-glad I did.

The ratio of raisins to oatmeal is perfect and the hint of cinnamon divine.

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Amazing Oatmeal Raisin Cookies - the best oatmeal raisin cookies you will ever bake!

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These babies are slightly crispy on the outside with just the right amount of chewiness on the inside. I chalk it up to a fantastic recipe and a trusty cookie dough scoop. It is one of the kitchen gadgets I can’t live without.

I also can’t live without my silicone baking mat. For reals.

I wanted to show you just how amazing these cookies taste but the photo doesn’t do them justice.

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Amazing Oatmeal Raisin Cookies - the best oatmeal raisin cookies you will ever bake!

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You’ll have to bake a batch for yourself. Immediately.

Oh, and these oatmeal raisin cookies freeze wonderfully well. Trust me.

Printable recipe for the best oatmeal raisin cookies EVER below. Enjoy!
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The Best Oatmeal Raisin Cookies EVER
Author: 
Recipe type: Dessert
Cuisine: Cookies
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 12
 
These truly are the most amazing oatmeal raisin cookies you'll ever bake...and eat! Makes approximately 3 dozen cookies.
Ingredients
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 1¾ cups flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp cinnamon
  • 2 cups quick-cooking oats
  • 1 cup raisins
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
  2. Cream together butter and sugars in a large bowl until smooth. Add eggs and vanilla and mix until thoroughly combined.
  3. Whisk together flour, baking soda, salt and cinnamon in a separate bowl. Add to creamed mixture and beat until combined.
  4. Mix in the oats. Fold in the raisins.
  5. Drop dough by heaping tablespoonful onto ungreased cookie sheets or silicone baking mat.
  6. Bake for 11 to 12 minutes or until center is set and edges are a very light golden brown.
  7. Remove from oven and cool 5 minutes before placing on a wire rack to cool completely.

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If you’re looking for more yummy cookies, you should browse my desserts {cookies} Pinterest board.

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Follow Emily Hill’s board desserts {cookies} on Pinterest.

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ps post script

Feel free to “like” is this REALLY my life? on Facebook. It won’t always earn you an extra entry in a giveaway but it will give you warm fuzzies.

Don’t forget to sign up for free is this REALLY my life? updates via RSS or email so you don’t miss a single awesome post.
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10 Fun & (Slightly) Filthy End-of-Summer Activities

2015 August 18
by Emily Hill

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Maytag. All opinions are 100% mine.

Okay, so maybe it is kind of over, but we still have weekends and the Labor Day holiday to finish checking things off our summer bucket lists. I don’t know about your kids, but mine think the dirtier, messier, outdoors-ier activity, the better. Some of our most favorite activities this summer were the ones that required taking long, hot showers and doing lots of laundry.

Pioneer Trek: We pulled handcarts 23 miles over the course of three days without a shower in sight.

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Pioneer Trek

Pioneer Trek
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California: Hours at Huntington and Corona del Mar beaches digging holes and playing in waves meant sand in all the crevices.

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Huntington Beach
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Cub Scout Camp: George’s favorite activities were the obstacle course and go-cart track. Super dusty and dirty.

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Cub Scout Camp
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Here’s a list of fun and filthy end-of-summer activities you can do before it’s time to stock up on Halloween candy.

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10 Fun End of Summer Activities

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  • Plan a hike. Find a family-friendly hike. Pack snacks and water and leave early to beat the crowds. To make it extra fun, hike where there’s a stream, river or waterfall. Don’t forget a pair of dry socks!
  • Participate in a “colorful” run. The Color Run, Color Me Rad and other chalk-filled races are super fun for the entire family. Make sure to wear sunglasses and hold your breath when getting chalked!
  • Play in the rain. Summer storms are the best, especially if you can hold a mud pie making contest once the rain stops.
  • Bury someone in the sand. Just make sure they’re okay with it first. And don’t forget to let them out.
  • Roll down a large, grassy hill. The larger the hill, the better the grass stains. If you tend to suffer from motion sickness, take some Dramamine first.
  • Hold a mini American Ninja Warrior at the playground. Who needs a salmon ladder when you’ve got monkey bars?
  • Go camping. Yes, there’s still plenty of time and plenty of mosquitoes.
  • Host a s’mores party. No, you won’t come away muddy but you will come away smelling like a campfire.
  • Visit the local amusement park. Crowds get smaller as the season winds down and I guarantee you’ll want to put everyone’s clothes in the wash. Nothing says “wash me” like a super wet water ride followed by sitting in who-knows-what on the new Cannibal roller coaster.
  • Help an elderly neighbor with yard work. Not only will you get dirty but you’ll also get lots of warm fuzzies.

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Of course, all that filthiness is great as long as you can wash it out. I’ve had my Maytag washer and dryer pair since 2000 and aside from one little tune-up, they’re still going strong. Paired with a solid detergent and spot-remover, they’ve washed out all kinds of crud—mud, ink, blood, vomit, grass, fruit punch and yes, even Pokemon cards.

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F4483f0f-8944-4b9a-9c0e-ea39ca6cddf8
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But what I wouldn’t give to get my hands on the new Maytag laundry Top Load Washer and Dryer pair. They’re absolutely beautiful and powerful. Designed, engineered and assembled in America, they have the power to clean big-league stains, which is super fitting since they’re the official washer and dryer of MLB.

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77d1af6b-59f1-4d21-9f17-c0f7efd0f5a0
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Speaking of baseball, Maytag is calling ball players of all ages to upload photos or videos of their sliding, diving or “filthy plays” because, let’s be honest, those plays are the most exciting and entertaining things about baseball.

Well, crazy plays and ballpark hot dogs.

Here are the dirty little details on Filthiest Plays of the Week contest:

  1. Upload a photo or video of your “filthy play” on Twitter or Instagram using “#MyFilthiestPlay.”
  2. Become eligible to win weekly prizes and a grand prize trip to the World Series plus a Maytag Top Load Washer and Dryer pair.

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That’s it!

So what are you going to do to get down and dirty before summer ends?

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ps post script

Feel free to “like” is this REALLY my life? on Facebook. It won’t always earn you an extra entry in a giveaway but it will give you warm fuzzies.

Don’t forget to sign up for free is this REALLY my life? updates via RSS or email so you don’t miss a single awesome post.
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